There are always obvious choices when you plan worldwide travel. Paris, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, and others to name just a few, but what about the lesser-traveled countries like Columbia? What about all the bad things you hear about drug dealers and rebels? Should I travel to Colombia? In this article we will explore why you may want to consider a trip to Colombia as part of your world travel plans.
First of all, I will address the dangers of traveling in Colombia. They do have kidnappings there. If you are from an Oil Company or part of a very wealthy family or company, you could be a target if you do not take precautions. However, people travel there all the time, they backpack in the mountains and wilderness and hikers are common as well. They do so in relative safety. There are also virtually no kidnappings in any of the major cities. As with most poor countries you travel to, pickpockets and muggers are the biggest danger.
Take the buses only during the day and take taxis at night. Leave your passport and valuables in the hotel safe. Wear a money belt instead of carrying all your money in your wallet or purse. Don’t carry too much cash and only take the one credit card you might need. These basic precautions are no different from the advice for travelling to any country.
Two bodies of water make up part of Colombia’s borders, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It borders the countries of Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama. It’s located in the northwest corner of South America.
The geographical diversity in Colombia leaves a lot of options to anyone who travels there. You have the Andean Highlands, which is comprised of three separate mountain ranges, small islands in both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, The Caribbean and Pacific Lowlands, and tropical rainforests in Eastern Columbia.
The highest points in Colombia, surprisingly are not in the Andes Mountain range, but in the Caribbean Plains. The highest points are in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and called Pico Cristobal Colon and Pico Simon Bolivar. They are both 5,775 meters high.
The people of this beautiful country are as diverse as its geography. There are three main groups, Spanish Colonists and European Immigrants, Imported African Slaves, and of course the native population of Amerindians. The population is growing with a recent influx of Turks, Arabs, and Europeans.
One of the major attractions in Columbia is their music. Cumbria, a mixture of African and Spanish music is the most common music heard at the many clubs and bars of Colombia. Mambo is a derivative of Cumbria Music as well and is the form you are likely most familiar with.
Another attraction are the Festivals of Colombia. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festivals_in_Colombia and you will see an entire list of festivals to choose from. Many of these festivals go back hundreds of years and in each area of Colombia the festivals vary. music, native costumes, dancing, food, and drink are some of the things you can expect to find at these carnivals and festivals.
And of course you will want to sample the local restaurants in whatever part of Colombia you are traveling through. There are many dishes of Colombian Cuisine you will want to try. The food varies from region to region, but here are a few dishes you may want to try.
Ajiaco, (chicken soup with potatoes and corn) Is absolutely delicious. The Tamales in Colombia are steamed in banana leaves and are usually pork, with vegetables and rice mixed in, and are also great. If you like chorizo, you’ll want to try Bandeja Paisa. The chorizo is mixed with platanos, beans and fried egg. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. They have a dish called Cuy, which is grilled guinea pig, if you’re the adventurous type. Another adventure would be trying the Hormiga Culona (fried ants). Now for my favorite dish, Lechona (Delicious baked pig stuffed with meat, peas, and rice)!
Some of the drinks in Colombia are different as well. Here are some of your choices;
Tinto: Strong Black Coffee served in a small cup. If you want milk in it, it’s called Pintado or Perico.You can also just order Caf Con Leche, which has more milk than coffee.
Aromaticas: Herbal teas are common in Columbia. Manzanilla and Camomile Tea are two common teas offered in restaurants and cafes. Cidron is a citrus tea and Yerbabuena is a mint tea you might like to try.
Columbian Beers: There are many locally produced beers in Columbia that are cheap and worth a try. Costea, Cristal Oro, and Aguila Light are three you may want to try if you like sampling beers.
Liquor: Along the coast of Colombia, rum is the most popular liquor served. There are many types of imported rum available. Aguardiente is something you may want to try and they do have local wines, but none that come highly recommended.
We hope we have added some useful information and ideas for your trip to Columbia.